Friday 24 November 2017

In brief: Four dead, one missing as avalanche sweeps through Swiss alpine region

FOUR people are dead and another is missing after an avalanche swept away 11 people near Switzerland's southern border with yesterday. One person was able to free himself and raised the alarm, and rescuers have so far managed to recover three people, local police said.

Information about the condition of those recovered wasn't immediately available yesterday.

The incident happened on Mont Velan, a towering 12,200-feet peak that straddles the Swiss-Italian border in the Pennine Alps.

Switzerland's National Avalanche Centre warned of a "considerable" risk of snowslides in the region today.

Evidence clash boosts Knox appeal

The appeal hopes of Amanda Knox were boosted last night when a key prosecution witness gave conflicting evidence relating to the killing of British student Meredith Kercher.

In a hearing in Perugia, witness Antonio Curatolo -- a self-confessed drug addict now in prison for an unrelated conviction -- gave contradictory accounts about whether he saw her near the crime scene in the Italian hilltop town.

In the lengthy trial in 2009, the formerly homeless man placed Knox and her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito -- also convicted of the murder -- in a square near the house the young women shared on the night of the killing.

Yesterday, he repeated his claim that he had seen the lovers "talking excitedly" in the square and said he thought it was Halloween night -- which would have be the night before the November 1, 2007 murder.

Children killed in Nato's Afghan strike

A NATO airstrike on two vehicles believed to be carrying Taliban fighters in southern Afghanistan accidentally killed and wounded seven civilians -- including three women and two children -- coalition forces said yesterday.

The international alliance said it was investigating the strike, which occurred on Friday in the Naw Zad district of Helmand province.

The helicopter airstrike followed intelligence reports that suggested a Taliban leader and his associates were in the vehicles, Nato said.

Harper sets date for Canadian poll

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has set an election date for May 2, saying voters will choose between a majority Conservative government and a coalition of parties that would threaten Canada's economic recovery.

Opposition parties joined yesterday to topple Harper's Conservative Party government by passing a no-confidence motion, after rejecting a March 22 budget and saying the government was in "contempt" of parliament by withholding the cost of some of its legislation.

Hamas continues to fire on Israel

Militants in Gaza fired two rockets into southern Israel yesterday, capping a week of intensified Palestinian rocket and mortar launches from the Hamas-run coastal territory and Israeli retaliations.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said no one was injured in the attacks but one rocket damaged a house.

Gaza militants have bombarded Israel this week in the heaviest barrage since an Israeli military campaign in 2009 tried to stop years of rocket fire from Gaza.

Sunday Independent

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